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MANAGER: Enjoying life here

Paul Simpson on being in it for the long haul

30 March 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Enjoying life here

Paul Simpson on being in it for the long haul

30 March 2023

It seems that even outside a transfer window we have clubs being linked with our players, which stands to reason when you see how well the team has done this season.

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But does it also stand to reason that that can also be the case should envious eyes be directed towards the manager, who has been at the helm of a quite remarkable turnaround since he came back to the hotseat last February.

Addressing that very issue at his weekly press conference, manager Paul Simpson said: “Listen, I signed a contract to come here for a minimum of three years.

“Myself and Jacqui moved up here, and I think this our 27th move in 30-odd years of being married. I don’t think Jacqui would be too chuffed if I was to suggest that we’re going to move again.

“I want to stay here, I want to do at least three years, and I want the club to want me to stay. After that, I would love us to be in a position where they want me to stay longer as well. Whether I’m still fit enough to be the manager, who knows.

“People criticised me last time for leaving to join Preston, but I was a young manager and I was trying to find my way in the game.

“I was striving to be the best manager I could be, and thinking that to be that I had to go to the Championship, and that would give me a platform to go onto Premier League level.

“I still want to be the best manager I can be, but I think I’ve realised that as an English coach you’ve got very little chance of actually getting a job in the Championship or the Premier League. That’s not me in any way criticising foreign coaches, there are some brilliant foreign coaches.

“Look, I’m really enjoying my life here. I’ve had some fantastic experiences in my managerial career, be that coaching in Portugal, working in the Championship and the Premier League, working at some great football clubs or gaining experience working with the FA, culminating in having a World Cup win – I’m just not chasing all of that now.

“I’m really happy with my lot, and if I can stay here for a long time I’ll be happy, and I’m quite sure Jacqui will be as well. We haven’t owned 27 houses but we have moved 27 times. We’ve lived in caravans, we’ve rented places, we’ve bought places, we’ve done whatever needs to be done.”

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30 March 2023

“I’m really happy here, I’m really enjoying living back in Carlisle,” he added. “I know that winning games of football helps with that, and I want to carry on winning games.

“I hope that … and I know all manager situations change, and when the fans turn, that it doesn't run me out of town. I hope it keeps me here. I want to be here for a long time.

“My aim was to come back to Carlisle United and to try to make the club bigger and better. I’m still striving to do that, but I still think we’re a long way from where I want it to be.

“The football side of it is going really well this year, the players have been magnificent, and what that does is make the hospitality, the commercial, the shop sales, the media coverage, everything that goes hand-in-hand with a successful football team increases.

“I want to carry on trying to be successful so that we can make the club even better than where it is today.”

And with some solid building blocks in place it could just be that this is the start of something special at Brunton Park.

“We’ve certainly got an opportunity to do it, we really have,” he agreed. “We have a lot that we need to improve, we know that.

“We have got some local players in here at the moment, and others who have been here before, I think I’m right in saying this is Joe Garner’s fourth spell here, so we have got players who have an affinity with the club.

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“We have staff who have a proper association with the club, and Carlisle is quite a unique place because we are so far north that you have to understand what you’re coming in to.

“Carlisle fans understand what the club is all about, but maybe we have expectation levels which are a little bit too high for what we can achieve, but I also don’t think there’s any problem with reaching for the stars.

“I think it’s important that you have aspirations to go higher. We want to make this football club better. We’re all working extremely hard and when I say ‘we’ I’m talking about everybody.

“I’m talking about Peter and Carol in hospitality, Stef who is working hard in the shop, Debbie and Kerry who are doing our commercial stuff, and people like Sarah and Suzanne in the office, and all of the girls in the ticket office, everybody is working to try and make this club better.

“They all want it to be successful. If we’ve all got that desire to want to make it better then we give ourselves a fighting chance.”

Having penned a three-year deal back in April, he reiterated once again that his hope in an ideal world would be for that go on even further.

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“I signed for three years and I want to be here for a minimum of that,” he told us. “I want it to be a minimum of that.

“My aim when I came in was to make sure I stayed in the league because we were in a dodgy position, it’s a simple as that. That wasn’t the fault of any one person, that was because of a whole host of reasons.

“It wasn’t just a manager who caused that, there were a lot of issues that brought that about. We were able to deal with that and get through that first bit, then we got a positive vibe going around the place with the supporters and local businesses coming back on board, and that wasn’t because of me, that’s because of everything that went on at that particular time.

“The aim is to keep working hard and keep trying to make it better and, if I am still here in three years, it’ll mean that we’ve done something right. If they want me to stay it’ll mean that we’ve got an opportunity to keep making things right.

“There’s a lot of things that can happen in football, we’ve got eight games to go, and it’s those eight games that are my main focus at this moment in time. I haven’t had any thoughts about changing clubs, moving on, anything like that.

“My only thought is to get these last eight games done properly, and let’s be in a position wherever we are in the summer, whether we miss out on promotion or whether we’re in League One, we do the work that needs to be done to make the club better.

“The things we’ve already started doing in terms of speaking to players about contracts, where we have a couple done now, and there are things we’re doing in terms of looking at a database of players who can fill the empty spaces I’ve got in my vision of what the squad would be like come next season.

“We have a little bit of a challenge at the moment because we are a League Two side, and we’re not on a brilliant budget, but there is that possibility that we could be a League One side.

“I don’t know what the budget is going to be next season for League Two or League One, so that does give you a little bit of a grey area.

“We’re going to plan, we’re chasing the best players that we believe we can, and hopefully whatever division we’re in we’ll be in a good position when we start pre-season for next year.”

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